Agriculture accounted for about 60 percent of containers exported from the Port of Savannah in 2019, foreshadowing the sector’s contribution to the resiliency of the ports amid this year’s pandemic, according to the Georgia Ports Authority.
As imports slowed, exports of commodities like pulp, paper, logs, cotton and others have stayed relatively steady — exports even increased by 15,500 units to 1.33 million in the fiscal year that ended in May.
But the slowdown in imports means the port had to work with stakeholders in the logistics sector to ensure an adequate supply of empty containers and chassis that trucks use to transport them to the port.
Leaders pointed to the growth of the Appalachian Regional Port in northwest Georgia as creating new export opportunities and driving traffic from Alabama and Tennessee.
“GPA’s laser focus on the seamless flow of export commodities and the impressive growth at the ARP have created new avenues for American farmers to serve international customers,” said GPA Board Chairman Will McKnight in a release.
On June 24, Executive Director Griffith Lynch recounted these successes in a webinar of more than 125 exporting members of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, which advocates on transportation policy as it impacts U.S. farmers.
He touted the importance of infrastructure — refrigerated warehouses, a chassis pool, a new “mega rail” project and gantry cranes.